Can a dental implant fall out?
Every now and then, oral surgeons get calls from distressed patients who report that one of their dental implants fell out. And in almost every case, this isn’t actually what happened.
While the titanium implant post can fail, this rarely occurs — and it’s particularly unlikely if an experienced, highly skilled oral surgeon placed the implanted tooth. So when a patient calls to say that a dental implant fell out, what’s really going on?
It’s Probably the Implant Abutment
A dental implant has three components:
The titanium post that’s set within the jawbone and functions as a tooth root
The visible portion, the ceramic crown that acts as a replacement tooth
The abutment, which connects the crown to the titanium post
The vast majority of the time when patients say their implant fell out, the abutment is the piece that became dislodged — not the entire dental implant. An oral surgeon can usually replace the abutment and reattach the crown to resolve the problem.
Failure Can Occur in the Titanium Implant Post
The titanium post can become loose, but for this component to fall out of the jawbone is quite uncommon.
When failure does occur, the cause is often a complication during osseointegration, or the process by which the post fuses with the jawbone. This may be due to:
Inadequate jawbone density, though this is typically addressed with a bone graft prior to implant placement
Post-surgical bacterial infection in the gums surrounding the implant
Chronic health conditions that compromise the osseointegration process
For some patients, failure is the result of poor aftercare practices. Smoking, drinking alcohol and putting pressure on the replacement tooth during the recovery period can hinder osseointegration, as can a lack of commitment to daily oral hygiene.
In the event of implant failure — or if the titanium post does happen to fall out — an oral surgeon can restore the replacement tooth. However, bone grafting may be a necessary step of the implant surgery.
Strategies to Keep Dental Implants Strong and Secure
Having an oral surgeon with extensive expertise place your dental implants is the best way to minimize your risk of complications. If that ship has already sailed, however, you can take steps to keep your smile strong.
Following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions is key. Avoid strenuous activities, consume only liquids and soft foods and refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol to give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome. In addition, keep your mouth clean. If you don’t stick to a regular oral hygiene routine, your implanted teeth will be more susceptible to failure.
If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area and need expert dental implant placement or treatment for loose or failing implanted teeth, schedule an appointment at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, specialize in tooth replacement and have a decade of experience restoring smiles with implanted teeth. The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah team can expertly fill the gaps in your grin — and we can also help if your dental implant abutment or post falls out. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.